He has been an avid bicycle aficionado for ages, but after a long time Salman Khan has chosen to endorse his passion for bicycles in a big way through BHARAT, probably with reference to the context of the period that BHARAT tries to situate itself it to. It is the common man’s bicycle that Salman Khan would be riding in BHARAT, which as a template was emotionally marketed to a finesse by the original Bharat Kumar of the nation aka Manoj Kumar through his super hit film SHOR.
When was the last time as a matter of fact did one see a major film star of the Hindi cinema riding a bicycle in the film? In the recent times when the fancy cars and superbikes that have made their debuts and have been positioned as a symbol of machismo, humble bicycle did went into an oblivion from the Hindi cinema. It perhaps needed a Salman Khan through BHARAT to bring it back once again into relief after more than two decades, when he endorsed the bicycle with panache in MAINE PYAR KIYA.
As a matter of fact it was Dev Anand and Rajendra Kumar who had built an aura of romanticism around the humble black cycles as a necessary accompaniment of art of wooing and further accentuating love. Dev Anand in particular had done it with conviction through his iconic song- ye maine kasam lee from the movie TERE MERE SAPNE and before in his signature attire black dress crooning –akela hoon main is duniya mein from the film BAAT EK RAAT KI.
It was not that bicycle was a sign of having arrived for the male of the fraternity! In the cinema of the old and golden period heroines did not had any gumption in riding a bicycle. As a matter of fact it was the perfect prop for initiation of romance on the silver screen and it was best epitomized through the Nutan featured song-BAN KE PANCHI GAYE Pyar ka tarana in the film ANARI- as also by Saira Banu crooning – main chali man chali in PADOSAN which made Sunil Dutt hopelessly fall in love with her.
But you needed a Govinda to make the cycle a statement of expression of love with a sense of chutzpah where he even made a Juhi Chawla, who was consider uber and chic to be her accompanying partner and croon in unison- chandi kee cycle sone kee seat from the film BHABHI and Govinda again was associated with bicycle as a template and the binding element of the film along with Divya Bharati in SHOLA AUR SHABNAM and Amit Kumar crooning with frolic – jaane de jaane de mujhe jaane de.
And who could forget an Aamir Khan who made a love story out of a bicycle race with his milestone movie JO JEETA WO SIKANDAR, which had a subaltern twist to it and also was a saga of class struggle, the differentiator being the variety of bicycle. It was perhaps the first film that celebrated the virtues of sports and underlined its importance in the life of an average Indian middle class.
With the level of pollution and congestion on the Indian roads one only hopes that through BHARAT, bicycle would get the much needed push as a mode of communication. After all, Salman Khan is endorsing it.